At least 14 people from Imo State among those sacked by the Abia State government in the wake of the seeming indigenization of its civil service are known to have died out of frustration.
Disclosing this to Christian Voice at the weekend, one of the affected workers said that most of the dead were widows and men who were breadwinners of their families.
He said that since the government of Abia State sacked the Imo State indigenes under the pretext that it was transferring them to their home state’s civil service, no money has been paid to anyone of them either as transfer or severance benefits.
One of the sacked civil servants who would not want his name in print lamented that the silence of both Imo and Abia State governments over their plight was inhuman.
He reminded those in authority that the issue is a touchy one and should not be swept under the carpet by those in authority.
“I cannot start a trade now, for instance, because I was sent home without one kobo”, he said.
For this reason, he made a passionate appeal to both the Abia and Imo governments to work out a solution to their problem.
He specifically asked for a special allowance for them as a save-our-soul effort until the issue is resolved.
According to him, there are non-Igbos who are still on the employ of the Abia State government and wondered why Governor Orji’s Igbo brothers and sisters were singled out for the inhuman treatment.
The Governor Theodore Orji administration in Abia State, early in the year, sacked Imo people and others from the south east who had remained in the civil service of the state, saying that he was transferring them to their states of origin to make way for Abians who wee clamouring for the new minimum wage and jobs.
Abia was created out of Imo in 1991. The dismissed workers comprised mostly female teachers, health personnel and local council staff who chose to remain in Abia after the creation of the State.
At a demonstration at the Imo Government House, Owerri, last year, the workers lamented that Gov. Orji was rewarding them with summary dismissed after they had monumentally contributed to the development of the State.
The Secretary to the Government of Imo State, (SGI) Prof. Anthony Anwuka, who received the demonstrating workers promised that the government “would definitely do something about their case”.
Awaka recalled that he was once a victim of the “highhandedness and obnoxious indigenization policy of Abia State government when it sacked all non-indigenes in the old Imo State University (now Abia State University, Uturu).